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06.01.2005 General News

Minority Leader calls on new Parliament to move closer to the people

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Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, on Thursday said the Third Parliament, which has until 12:00 mid-night Thursday to go through dissolution, failed to move closer to the people in the regions and districts.

He, therefore, expressed the hope that the Fourth Parliament would do better and move closer to the people in order to correct some wrong perceptions about the operations of the Legislature.

The Minority Leader was delivering his final speech in Parliament at the 32nd Sitting of the Third Parliament, which is giving way on Friday to the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

Mr Bagbin said in order to ensure that the work of the Legislature was understood and appreciated by Ghanaians, Parliament should move to the districts and interact with the people at the grassroots.

He said MPs should also ensure that the district assemblies benefited from their rich experiences and urged that the work of Parliament should be programmed in a way that would allow members to have ample time to attend district assembly meetings regularly.

The Minority Leader said there were wrong perceptions about the work of Parliament and there was the need to correct them.

Earlier, before the Minority Leader plunged into his speech, he commended Vice President Aliu Mahama, who was present in the House, for visiting twice and said it was important that the sitting Vice President and future Vice Presidents find time to visit Parliament regularly, adding that, Professor John Evans Atta Mills visited Parliament just once during his term.

The Minority Leader, whose address sounded subdued and conciliatory, used the occasion to call for the continuous nurturing of the country's young democracy.

Giving a brief summary of the performance of the Minority, Mr Bagbin said it had worked closely with the Majority resulting in the consolidation of the gains achieved under constitutional rule. He said comparatively, the country had moved far ahead of others in the West Africa Sub-Region and Africa.

On some areas from which the new Parliament should draw lessons, he said the annual Speaker's Breakfast Forum should be continued. On relationship between the Executive and Legislature during the Third Parliament, Mr Bagbin said: "The Executive should treat Parliament as an equal," and the urged the Executive to give a free hand to Parliament to partner the Government to ensure an independent legislature.

The media was not left out as the Minority Leader commended the Parliamentary Press Corps and said the media should be allowed to operate freely to keep government and institutions on their toes. He urged editors of media houses to assist in encouraging specialisation instead of the frequent changes of Journalists covering various areas.

On the way forward, Mr Bagbin said there was the need to look at certain provisions of the Constitution and called for a review of some clauses to reflect current realities.

He expressed the hope that the new Parliament would be guided by the lessons drawn from the operations of the Third Parliament. Earlier, in subdued tones, the Speaker, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, opened proceedings and led the House in the last prayers for the Third Parliament.

The unusually slow manner in which he said the prayers laced with lots of emotions drew laughter and from Members.

The Speaker then welcomed the Vice President, who was ushered into the into the Chambers and expressed appreciation to him, saying his presence in the House was in accordance with Constitution.

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